Samoa’s first tissue culture lab opens

Samoa can now mass produce disease-free planting material in its very own tissue culture laboratory, which was opened yesterday morning.

The ribbon was cut by Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Lopaoo Natanielu Mua, who said the new lab will continue to advance Samoa’s fast developing agriculture sector. 

The lab is equipped with a T$15,000 bioreactor, which will enable researchers to rapidly multiply disease free plant materials for farmers around the country.

Assistant chief executive of M.A.F. for the crops division, Moafanua Tolo Iosefa said increasing foreign pathogens in soil is a challenge to growing produce. In the tissue culture lab, this issue is avoidable.

“The plant material we grow in the laboratory will be disease free, grown in a clean environment and take up less space to grow,” he said.

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With the potential boom in banana exports on the horizon, Moafanua is excited about the opportunities to quickly produce large quantities of plant material.

“With the bioreactor we can produce up to 10 thousand or more seedlings at once which we cannot afford to do without the bioreactor.”

Going forward, Moafanua would like to see the lab acquire at least one more bioreactor, and then another couple in the next ten years.

This will help Samoa keep pace with the growing exports in not only banana but also taro, breadfruit and coconut.

As well as ensuring locally grown produce is disease free for export, Moafanua said the tissue culture laboratory will also make Samoa a potential sharing partner for other countries in the region wanting plant materials from here.

“We cannot share potentially diseased plant material.”

So to share tissue culture, it must be grown in the lab where Samoa can guarantee it will meet international standards, he said.

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